Bedford High School offers the International Baccalaureate program for Juniors and Seniors. Other schools in NH are also considering adopting this program into their curriculum.
Bedford school administrators and board members have given their approval of this program but what always seems to be missing is, the controversial baggage that comes with IB.
How will teachers deliver a program containing such extreme political overtones? The IBO makes it clear that the Administration must be on board with the philosophy of the IB program.
Looking at the IB web site raises many concerns. For instance at the 21st IB Asia-Pacific Annual Regional Conference (http://www.ibo.org/ibap/conference/2006regionalconf.cfm) members of the IB community gathered to present topics on "values education".
American students lack the competitive edge in areas like math and science. How does "values education" address lack of math and science skills? Who’s values are they assessing and more importantly, what are the values of the IBO?
The conference included a presentation on "Values education and Becoming Fully Human". Absent in the presentation is a focus on students achieving academic excellence. What you will note is the reference to the increase of relativism and fundamentalism and the IBO’s need to address this problem.
On page 10, the IBO criticizes religious fundamentalists by mocking their religious beliefs, "The assertion that we alone have the truth about morality and religion and everyone else is wrong."
There is a definite implication, that fundamentalism is a problem that the IBO needs to address. Address where? In the NH classrooms? Do the fundamentalist Christians know that the IBO sees them as a problem that needs to be addressed in the classroom?
On page 29 it states that
"fundamentalism is as much alive in the west as in the east".
Oh really? In what way? Because I’m missing the American Christians committed to suicide bombings.
In the next paragraph it goes on to say:
"It is in major religious groups whether these be different Christian groups, Islamic, Jewish or Hindu groups….in the moral majority in the United States, in groups within the Catholic church or in Evangelical Anglican groups in Sydney. Fundamentalists all too often harbour a righteous indignation about the world which they see as having subverted important values and has left them adrift with nowhere to go except to retreat into their own certainties."
Will the school administrators and board members identify the fundamentalist Catholics, Christians and Jews that need their values reshaped ?
They go on to further denigrate some Americans on page 30 by stating,
"after 9/11 there has been a dangerous increase in the idea that "we" are good and "they" are evil. "We"stand for freedom, democracy and the American way (including capitalism, low taxes and, in some quarters, with links to negative attitudes to homosexuality and abortion) and "they" stand for anyone who rejects "we".
They chose diverse religious groups to target. However, is this something necessary for Bedford and NH students? IB seems to be saying, it’s their duty to reshape these religious beliefs through this program. Where’s the tolerance? More importantly, where’s the commitment to academics and academic excellence?
What are the values they want to instill after extinguishing the values they see as a problem? Page 37 states:
"Where is the point of balance? It is between the forces of relativism that tell us we should tolerate all perspectives and that there are no absolutes and the forces that tell us that only they have the truth and all we have to do is obey it."
Those "forces" would be the parents, churches and synagogues. Clearly students must not believe in religious absolute "truths" or else those will need to be reshaped by IB. This is going to be a real problem for many students of faith who do believe in absolute truths.
Not all fundamentalists are extremists and to compare faithful Americans to some of the fundamentalists who are extremists is unfair and outrageous.
I now see why communities have abandoned such divisive programs. It’s going to be hard to rally support around any school that embraces a program that’s so openly hostile to American religious values.
I think this blog sums all of this up… From Townhall.com – The World According To tmilz:
"Each is entitled to have his/her own opinion. Each is more over entitled the right to free speech. However, as Thomas Jefferson noted, "To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical." In other words, it is morally wrong, even "tyrannical" for a program such as IBO to be in the public school systems, paid for by those who fully disagree."